UFC 261: Kamaru Usman knocks out Jorge Masvidal in rematch to retain welterweight championship
Kamaru Usman showed why he is the undisputed UFC welterweight champion of the world with a standout performance against the dangerous Jorge Masvidal.
Leading up to the rematch, there was a lot of talk about Masvidal’s lack of training camp for their first encounter that took place on “Fight Island” and led to a one-sided unanimous decision going in Usman’s favour at UFC 251 last July.
“The Nigerian Nightmare” looked determined to leave no doubts as to why he is the promotion’s 170-pound king at UFC 261 in front of a packed crowd at the Vystar Veteran’s Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida.
In the first round, Usman found success on the feet with his ever-improving boxing fundamentals, landing stiff jabs and powerful right straights. He also secured a takedown in the first five minutes when Masvidal closed the distance, though “Gamebred” managed to work his way back to his feet after landing some grazing elbows with his back to the floor.
That opening round was competitive, but the contest didn’t last much longer than that.
Masvidal probed Usman from the outside, peppering him with leg kicks before likely launching into an assault. Usman stopped that danger before it materialised with a ferocious right hand that dropped his opponent. Usman followed the Miami native down to the mat to drop a number of hammerfists to secure the TKO victory.
It was the first time Masvidal had been finished by strikes in over a decade and added to Usman’s tally of 14 consecutive wins inside the Octagon. Only the revered Anderson Silva, with his 16 straight victories, has a better record in the UFC.
Usman now has four UFC welterweight championship defences to his name and is likely to have another rematch, this time against Colby Covington, next up.
UFC 261: Rose Namajunas regains strawweight title with head kick KO win over Weili Zhang
“Thug” Rose Namajunas became a two-time UFC women’s strawweight champion in spectacular fashion as she unseated China’s Weili Zhang.
Namajunas looked loose as she bounced around the Octagon in an attempt to avoid Zhang’s power. “Magnum” was able to land a number of low kicks on Namajunas, but the Lithuanian-American looked calm as she avoided her dangerous opponent’s advances.
Then came the fight’s end. Zhang bit on the bait – a low kick feint – and blocked low as Namajunas slammed a in a head kick that sent Zhang crashing backwards to the canvas with a thud.
Namajunas followed up with a string of hammerfists to her fallen opponent, prompting referee Keith Peterson to intervene.
Zhang protested the stoppage, but was wobbly on her feet while doing so, as Namajunas wheeled away in celebration.
Thug Rose is once again the woman to beat at 115 pounds.
UFC 261: Valentina Shevchenko dominates Jessica Andrade en route to TKO victory
— UFC (@ufc) April 25, 2021
UFC women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko has looked near unbeatable since her reign as queen of 125 pounds started back at UFC 231 in 2018.
In what was her fifth title defence, “Bullet” showed all facets of her mixed martial arts arsenal as she boxed up Jessica Andrade on the feet and expertly took the tough Brazilian down whenever she wanted to.
After a dominant first round, Shevchenko once again grounded Andrade with a big takedown early on in the second. After the fight briefly returned to standing, the Kyrgyzstan kickboxer took Andrade down once again but this time secured her arms in a crucifix position.
From there, Shevchenko slammed down elbows and punches to the head of a defenceless Andrade before referee Dan Miragliotta called a stop to the contest.
UFC 261: Uriah Hall avenges loss to Chris Weidman due to broken leg
Can't keep a champion down.
— UFC (@ufc) April 25, 2021
Uriah Hall was hoping to avenge his defeat to Chris Weidman – the first of his MMA career – at UFC 261 and he did so, albeit in the highly unfortunate circumstances.
The bout lasted just 17 seconds. On the first leg kick thrown by Weidman, Hall checked it with the bottom of his knee and snapped the Long Island native’s shin in two.
What unfolded was reminiscent of Weidman’s rematch against Anderson Silva at UFC 168 when “The Spider” broke his leg on a checked leg kick.
Weidman, understandably, was stretchered out of the arena in tears. Hall promised the former UFC middleweight champion a third fight if he can recover from what is a serious injury.
UFC 261: Anthony Smith defeats Jimmy Crute after doctor stops contest following leg injury
— UFC (@ufc) April 25, 2021
The UFC 261 main card kicked off with a light heavyweight bout between former UFC title challenger Anthony Smith and the up-and-coming Jimmy Crute.
Smith’s boxing looked strong in the early stages of the bout’s only round, slamming a series of stiff jabs to Crute’s face, while the Australian returned fire with leg kicks to stifle his opponent’s movement.
However, it was a leg kick from Smith which saw the fight come to an abrupt end.
“Lionheart” landed an innocuous-looking low kick to Crute’s left knee that caused his knee to buckle immediately. “The Brute” gritted through it and somehow managed to land a couple of takedowns to try and see out the remainder of that round.
Walking back to his corner, it was clear that Crute’s leg was compromised as his left ankle continued to twist every time Crute tried to stand or walk on it. A cageside doctor called the contest off ahead of the second round, much to Crute’s protest, awarding Smith the TKO victory.
UFC 261: Usman vs. Masvidal II full results
UFC Welterweight championship: Kamaru Usman (c) def. Jorge Masvidal by KO (punches) at 1:02 of round two
UFC Women’s Strawweight championship: Rose Namajunas def. Zhang Weili (c) by KO (head kick) at 1:18 of round one
UFC Women’s Flyweight championship: Valentina Shevchenko (c) def. Jéssica Andrade by TKO (elbows) at 3:19 of round two
Middleweight: Uriah Hall def. Chris Weidman by TKO (leg injury) at 0:17 of round one
Light Heavyweight: Anthony Smith def. Jimmy Crute by TKO (doctor stoppage) after round one
Welterweight: Randy Brown def. Alex Oliveira by submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:50 of round one
Welterweight: Dwight Grant def. Stefan Sekulić by split decision after three rounds
Middleweight: Brendan Allen def. Karl Roberson by submission (ankle lock) at 4:55 of round one
Featherweight: Patrick Sabatini def. Tristan Connelly by unanimous decision after three rounds
Bantamweight: Danaa Batgerel def. Kevin Natividad by TKO (punches) at 0:50 of round one
Lightweight: Rodrigo Vargas def. Rong Zhu by unanimous decision after three rounds
Flyweight: Jeff Molina def. Qileng Aori by unanimous decision after three rounds
Women’s Strawweight: Ariane Carnelossi def. Na Liang by TKO (punches) at 1:28 of round two